As people age, others tend to believe that they slow down and revert to the innocence of childhood and are somehow less cognitively aware. The general population tends to regard the elderly the same way they regard toddlers or young children — simplifying conversations, speaking slowly, and modifying activities to be more appropriate. However, it’s important to remember that seniors are just older adults with a lifetime of experiences and thoughts, and they have the same basic and complex needs and desires they always have. In today’s post, we’ll discuss a few of the more common things that seniors wish their adult children knew about them.
They Still Have a Desire For Romantic and Sexual Relationships
While many people find it endearing when couples have been together most of their lives or discover new companionship later in life, many younger people don’t really think about much beyond conversations. In reality, seniors well into their 90s desire romantic relationships and physical intimacy the same as anyone else. In fact, more than 60% of seniors aged 60+ claim they have sex regularly, meaning more than once a month. Additionally, sexually transmitted diseases in people over the age of 50 are growing more than the rates of those under the age of 40. While you don’t necessarily need to have “the birds and the bees” chat with your parents, it is important to understand that they may be interested in dating and intimacy and allow them the freedom to express that aspect of their life.
The Truth About Their Lives
Everyone has secrets and knows secrets they hold onto for others. As people age, we tend to feel the need to unburden or release those secrets that weigh heavily on our hearts. It could be something as simple as cheating on a college mid-term to having an abortion in high school. Whatever the secret is, many seniors want to confess to their adult children, but know that the risk of judgment or potentially tearing their family apart exists. If your aging parents do unburden, it’s important to remember that these events were in the past and does not change their relationship with you or how their lives have played out. The best course of action is to be empathetic and then deal with your emotions on the subject when they aren’t around.
They Have Hopes, Dreams, and Aspirations
Many people assume that seniors have lived their lives and accomplished everything. The truth is that we never stop dreaming and the desire to achieve never dies. Oftentimes, people wait until life slows down as they age to even attempt to follow their dreams that seemed too selfish when they were raising their family or pursuing their careers. It’s important to acknowledge that your aging parents may still have a bucket list or want to learn new hobbies and skills.
They Are Not Infants
It is shocking and disturbing to hear some of the things people say about the elderly right in front of them, as if they can no longer hear or feel. This disrespectful behavior infantilizes aging parents and invalidates them as human beings. Treating seniors like children is much more common in those who have physical or cognitive disabilities. However, it’s important to remember, despite impairments, aging adults are not children. They are adults worthy of respect and validation.
They Want to Make Their Own Decisions
Seniors, however incapacitated they may seem, are autonomous beings with preferences and thoughts. When aging parents suffer from physical or cognitive impairment, it can be easy to assume that caregivers should do what is best for them. However, it’s critically important to remember that seniors of all ages and abilities still want to think and decide for themselves. Be sure to include your parents in all decisions regarding their care and lives. View our senior’s rights information online.
At Angels on Call Homecare, we work with seniors in every age range with every physical and cognitive impairment known to man. We have decades’ worth of experience listening to the elderly and meeting their basic and complex needs and wishes. If you have a difficult time understanding your aging loved one, let our expert angels help. From companions who allow your loved one to talk freely to full-time live-in nursing care for your elderly mother and her boyfriend, we are here to help. Connect with us online to discover our full menu of home care services and call to set up a home assessment today.